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Leading by example- Ark Hotel Construction shows How Prefabrication can Change the Face of Construction Industry

This video titled "Ark Hotel Construction time lapse building 15 storeys in 2 days" surfaced only last month on the internet and it was seen more than 3.8 million times on Youtube alone.



And there is a reason for that. It took just six days to build the Ark Hotel in Changsha, China. According to the video, no stationary cranes were used in construction and there wasn't single injury among the site's workers.

The 15-story sustainable hotel already had its foundation but using pre-fabricated columns and modules as well as modern construction techniques, construction workers took just 46 hours to finish the main structural components and another 90 hours to finish the building enclosure.

Construction Details:
Level 9 Earthquake Resistance: diagonal bracing structure, light weight, steel construction, passed level 9 earthquake resistance testing
6x Less Material: even though the construction materials are much lighter(250kg/m2) than the traditional materials(over 1500kg/m2)…

A Visit to Toyota Texas Plant in San Antonio Texas and Lessons Learned for Construction

On November 19th, 2010, I got a chance to visit Toyota Texas Plant. It was truly a great experience. One because it was a Truck Manufacturing Plant and second because I got to see Toyota Production System (TPS) in action. Toyota is where the concept of 'lean' was first born in 1930's. This visit was very significant for me as I was reading about lean in manufacturing throughout my masters at Texas A&M and this was a time to see how things actually get done at Toyota plants.

We were very well received by the plant management at the Visitors' Center and taken to the assembly lines later after a short presentation on Toyota Texas and TPS. This plant started manufacturing trucks (thats what Texans like the most) called "Tundra" and "Tacoma" in year 2006. Both trucks are manufactured on the same assembly line with the help of automatic changing dies (that typically take 5 min on avg) and about 400 robots. The plant works in 2 shifts and produce aroun…

Dennis Sowards on Lean Construction

Highlights: Lean construction in home building, concepts of "value" in Lean construction thinking, specific examples of "waste" and "value" in construction industry.
New Construction Strategies with Ted Garrison
Dennis Sowards has over 25 years of senior level experience with a record of achievement in Continuous Improvement, Total Quality Management, Industrial Engineering, and Management Consulting. His strengths include proven leadership and technical analysis in problem solving and group facilitation and the ability to function effectively in a rapidly changing technological and organizational environment.

Listen by clicking on play button.



BIM and Lean - A Wave of Change in the Industry Worldwide

The rise of BIM, Lean and IPD in construction industry during last 2-3 years shows that industry is desperately changing its work practices in these tough economic times. My belief that the tough economy attracted industry's focus towards productivity improvement grew stronger and stronger over last couple of years and especially after seeing the wave of change in the capital asset management practices in public sector. Major government institutions such as General Administration Services (GSA), US Coast Guard, and public works in Wisconsin, Texas, Finland and Denmark made BIM compulsory over the course of last 3-4 years. UK government is also talking about making BIM compulsory for all public projects according to this article - "The use of force: Building information modelling" on building.co.uk

If you are looking for a similar pattern in Lean Construction growth than look at London Heathrow Terminal 5 Project and Sutter Health Projects in California. Both are multi bil…

Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) Contract and Legal Concerns

Stephen A. Hilger discussed the legal merits of Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) contract in ENR article "The Legal Worries Raised by IPD." His major concerns involve:
1. Design and Financial Risk 2. Loss of the Spearin Doctrine 3. Sharing in Means and Methods 4. Losing the Economic Loss Doctrine 5. "Fluff" Language 6. Third Party Design Liabilities 7. IPD Team Members Can't be Sued and 8. Impact on Indemnity Clauses

Greg Howell on Last Planner System

New Construction Strategies with Ted Garrison Gregory A. Howell is co-founder and managing director of the Lean Construction Institute (LCI), a non-profit organization devoted to production management research in design and construction. Howell brings 35 years of construction industry project management, consulting and university-level teaching experience to LCI.
Listen by clicking on play button.



Seamless Collaboration is Becoming Inexpensive: Opensource BIMserver v 1.0 Release

A group of open-source programmers and researches involved in architectural CAD and building information modeling (BIM) tools have developed a working tool called BIMserver. Known as the BIMserver Project from TNO and the University of Eindhoven in the Netherlands, the group’s efforts propose to radically alter the landscape for computerized applications in the AEC (architecture, engineering and construction) industries.



After three revisions of open source BIMserver, version 1.0 is now available for download. Read more about opensource BIMserver here - BIMserver | Architosh | StressFree

AGC, Lean Project Delivery and Last Planner System

AGC recently released the white paper "Integrated Project Delivery for Public and Private Owners." Lean Project Delivery is mentioned as a related industry trend. Following is the excerpt from the white paper:"Lean Project Delivery: Another term often used to refer to a form of Integrated Project Delivery is Lean Project Delivery System ™ (LPDS), a term developed by the Lean Construction Institute (LCI). Many of the principles attributed to Lean Project Delivery are similar to those attributed to IPD. In fact, in this era of evolving terminology, many refer to IPD as ―Lean Project Delivery‖ where the application of ―lean thinking‖ and lean principles are applied throughout the project.Followers of IPD treat lean principles along with the resulting efficiencies and elimination of waste as givens. Followers of lean treat collaboration and the use of technologies as givens. In the end, lean and IPD are both striving for the same ultimate outcome, just two different paths t…

Are we Moving into a World of Collaboration?

Howard Rheingold talks about the coming world of collaboration, participatory media and collective action -- and how Wikipedia is really an outgrowth of our natural human instinct to work as a group.Interestingly Howard Rheingold gave the examples of Toyota, Google, Wikipedia, Amazon and Ebay - companies that are enriching others to enrich temselves. By doing lean construction and integrating the whole project team into one, and training them, companies will enrich themselves in this new world of collaboration.

Develop the Future and Past Positive Time Perspectives in Your Project Team Members by using Last Planner System

The psychological framework on which Last Planner System is designed could be explained by looking at the methods Phil Zimbardo and John Boyd recommended in their book "The Time Paradox." People having Future perspective are reported to be having higher success rates in their lives as compared to extremely present oriented individuals.

Finishing the project on time is very critical for both the client and project team in the construction industry. On schedule project delivery and future and past positive orientated people can make a project successful on all dimensions (time,quality,cost,safety etc.).
Last Planner System is a tool that makes project team future oriented by embedding reverse phase scheduling, 6-weeks look ahead and weekly work plans in its planning process. This exercises orient the whole team to future and as Zimbardo and Boyd write in the book, project participants' attitudes towards time can be changed, Last Planner can change the time perspectives in th…

Target Value Design and Honda's "Kick Out the Ladder" Philosophy

Lean construction community sees target value design as a value generation tool. That could be useful to produce value for the client and reduce wasteful outcomes. However, target value design is not seen as a convenient tool and blamed to be hindering creativity and innovation in design. Honda Motor's "Kick Out the Ladder" philosophy inspires to "do the impossible" and thus inspires to achieve seemingly impossible results. This video produced by Honda illustrates this philosophy and employees' thoughts about achieving the desired outcomes successfully.

Importance of Collaboration in Construction Industry and Tim Brown's Idea on "Thinking Big"

Tim Brown says the design profession is preoccupied with creating nifty, fashionable objects -- even as pressing questions like clean water access show it has a bigger role to play. He calls for a shift to local, collaborative, participatory "design thinking."

Lean Project Delivery System (LPDS) /Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) calls for collaboration from all project stakeholder -owners, architects,engineers,general contractors, subcontractors,suppliers ......... Tim Bron's idea on "Thinking Big" calls for the same in every design.

Tim Brown's generic idea about importance of participation in design (product design or process design or service design or .... any other design) spells out clearly that greater participation brings better products and same is true for collaboration in construction. Collaboration during design and delivery of any construction project brings new ideas on table and discussions among participants makes them more open about thei…

First Run Studies of "Last Planner System" and Tim Brown on "powerful relationship between creative thinking and play"

At the 2008 Serious Play conference, designer Tim Brown talks about the powerful relationship between creative thinking and play -- with many examples you can try at home (and one that maybe you shouldn't).

First run studies (as lean construction defines) are "used to redesign critical assignments, part of continuous improvement effort; and include productivity studies and review work methods by redesigning and streamlining the different functions involved. The studies commonly use video files, photos, or graphics to show the process or illustrate the work instruction. The first run of a selected craft operation should be examined in detail, bringing ideas and suggestions to explore alternative ways of doing the work."

Tim talks in this video about the importance of role play and creativity. Same concept is true for 'first run studies.' The first run of the craft operation or design done in a playful manner may create innovative solutions.

Lean community, by being…

Diffusion of Innovation and a Beautiful Piece of Art

It has been argued since long that diffusion of innovation takes time and typically follows a curve as shown below.

Same is the case with BIM at the present times. Experts employ different tactics to make transition more smooth and make people more conformable with the new ways of doing things or new thinking for instance (ex. lean management in construction). They share stories, create games and do all sorts of things to make learning and transition, from traditional practices to new, more fun and easier for early adopters. Making something fun is a work of art and it requires creativity. So this makes one point clear that managers have to be artists at some point of time. I came across this wonderful piece of art, a story, by James salmon that clearly identifies and highlights the importance of BIM and common standards for delivering a BIM to the owner - a BIM that owner can use for facility management. The story is so compelling that I was lured to share it with you. The story of "…

A conceptual BIM of a church building

Built this model last semester as a practice of bidding a church project.

Last Planner® System as a problem solving framework

Last Planner® System (LP®S) reduces uncertainty and brings stability. However, when we put LP S in a problem solving framework we realize that the core of LP®S is based on two problem solving techniques: (1) Root Cause Analysis and (2) GROW model (Goal-Reality-Obstacle/Option-Way forward).

During the LP®S use-
We set milestones for an activity - We set goal (G)We do the reality (R) check during the brainstorming sessions and look ahead planning We look for obstacles (O) i.e. constraints analysis and find options (O) to deal with the constraintsWe go ahead and execute the plan that’s our way forward (W)Next we ask "why" five times which is a popular root cause analysis technique
LP®S planning protocol can be explained using these two problem solving techniques and they encompass George Pólya's method in "How to solve it?”
Pólya suggests the following steps when solving a mathematical problem:

1. First, understand the problem.
2. After understanding, make a plan.
3. …

Why Last Planner® System and Building Information Modeling First?

I will begin with discussing the history of lean thinking and then discuss the most compelling and promising tools enabling lean thinking.
The very concept of lean construction originates from Taichi Ohno's innovative management philosophy - Toyota Production System (TPS). Precisely, the same Toyota Production System is known as "Lean" in western world.
Ohno states in his book - Toyota Production System- Beyond Large Scale Production - the two most important building blocks of TPS are Just-In-Time (JIT) and Total Quality Management (TQM).
JIT in a layman's words is an approach with the objective of producing the right part in the right place at the right time. And TQM is a management philosophy that seeks to integrate all organizational functions (marketing, finance, design, engineering, and production, customer service, etc.) to focus on meeting customer needs and other organizational objectives.
Last Planner® System (LP®S) of production control is a tool based on JIT p…

Building Information Modeling (BIM) and Lean Construction for successful project management

Recently I came across this article by Dennis Sowards "BIM and LPS improve project management". Dennis explained LPS-Last Planner System and Building Information Modeling (BIM) fairly well.

However, in my opinion there is no point in asking the question "Should we choose BIM over Lean or Lean over BIM?" As Dennis explains in the article that before asking this question "you need to consider what each process offers before choosing one over the other", I would say: lean is a management philosophy and BIM is a technology for effective management of project information. In other words lean is a way of management and BIM is a tool for management.

Lean construction is based on a simple principle "reduce waste and increase value." To reduce waste (of time, material, labor etc.) a number of initiatives have been taken, for example Last Planner System (LPS) of production control, Value Stream Mapping (VSM), Target Value Design (TVD) etc.

If we closely look…